A few of my favourite things

So, I got caught up in a torrential rain storm on my way home last night, and, having screamed at the rain all the way while cycling down Oxford Road, I did the only reasonable thing and sought shelter at Big Hands. As I was trying to get a little dryer (by sitting on bench… I know, good story, right?) I started chatting to some Australian girls who had been in Manchester for a few weeks. I kept asking which places they had been to and ended up jotting down a list of my favourite spots to visit in Manchester. I couldn’t help but turn this into a blog post,* so there you go:


Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)

Oh, how I love this place. Whether it’s for a full tour round the different exhibitions (which can easily take you half a day), or just for a sneaky visit to the absolutely magnificent steam engine hall, MOSI is one of my staples to take visitors to. If you’re lucky, the steam engines are running, and you can spend quite some time just marvelling at these fantastic pieces of engineering, with their bolts and pistons moving to what seems like a perfectly choreographed little dance. Well, I do.

The Knott

This pub, just round the corner from MOSI, offers some of the tastiest pub grub in town. They used to have a grilled halloumi sandwich which was so good, it made me weep (I do get very emotional when eating nice veggie food); the Lancashire cheese and beet root pie (if that’s your kind of thing), however, has now become my new favourite.

Cloud 23

While I find Cloud 23 as a bar rather unattractive, it’s definitely worth a visit for the Afternoon Tea (or, aptly named, “High Tea”). Watch Manchester from above while eating cake – winner.

Affleck’s Palace

It seems every Mancunian has a story of how they used to hang out at Affleck’s in their teens. This indie shopping mall is a huge maze of little shops spanning several floors, ranging from second hand to fancy dress, posters and badges, hand-made jewellery, and general weird stuff. There’s a tasty little milk shake bar hidden in some corner on the 1st floor (maybe… I tend to lose my bearings as soon as I enter the building), a cafe on the top floor, and endless hours of fun.

The Star & Garter

When I first moved to Manchester, I spent many a Saturday night dancing at Smile, “Manchester’s longest running indie night” at the Star&Garter pub. While the novelty of drinking double g&ts and falling up and down the epic staircase has worn off, I still enjoy the odd night out at Smile, dancing to some excellent and un-embarrassing tunes. I’ve never made it to the Smiths night (which, apparently, attracts a fair number of quiffs), but it’s definitely on my “things to do before I leave Manchester” list.

Big Hands & The Temple

While I don’t usually spend too much time at pubs, Big Hands and The Temple are certainly two of my favourite places in Manchester. They’re gloriously dark and scruffy places with similarly scruffy patrons, brilliant jukeboxes (always fun to take non-Brits who are not yet used to the concept of jukeboxes) and overpriced beer.

The Cornerhouse

This art gallery/cafe/bar/restaurant/cinema “complex” is always a safe bet if you fancy art/coffee/drinks/food/indie and artsy movies. Having said that, the cosy little cinema screens are certainly my favourite, in particular because you’re ok to bring in your own snacks (unlike basically any other cinema). My go to combo for rainy days is a pack of biscuits and a cup of tea from the cafe to go with my movie.

Manchester Museum

I like to hang out in the live animals bit of Manchester Museum and watch the chameleon climbing around its little artificial rainforest, which is strangely meditative. Apart from that, it’s the place to go if you’re into dead animals (stuffed and skeletons alike). The bony dude on the picture is called Stan, by the way.


Fuel, Withington (south)

Fuel Fuel Fuel Fuel Fuel Fuel Fuel. I love Fuel. If it was legal to marry pubs, I’d have drunkenly proposed to Fuel a few times already. Mind you, I probably have. There’s veggie food, which always ends up being absolutely perfect, lovely staff, a brilliant quiz on Tuesdays (hosted by two Welsh brothers), open mic on Wednesdays, free gigs on weekends ranging from hip hop to hardcore and back, knitting groups, poetry, comedy, and what not. Oh and there’s no bouncer to yell at you when you stand outside with a drink, so on busy nights half of the fun is usually happening outside on the pavement.

Fletcher Moss Park, Didsbury (south)

My favourite park in Manchester. The Japanese garden is absolutely gorgeous in spring/summer.

Bury Market, Bury (north)

One of the biggest markets in Europe. Definitely worth the visit if you want to eat your way across the continents and perhaps buy some slippers.

Boggart Hole Clough, Blackley (north)

I came across this place very randomly when I got my first bike in Manchester and pointed at a map saying “let’s cycle to that place with the funny name“. This seemingly average park turns into what can only be described as a huge hole in the ground, with a little garden and a few benches at the bottom. We sat there eating our lunch while watching a small group in fancy dress filming what looked like an Alice in Wonderland themed scene. Weird-o-rama.

Islington Mill, Salford (north west)

There’s art, gigs, yoga, dancey nights, and more gigs. For some unknown reason, I hardly ever make it down that side of town, but if I weren’t such a lazy bugger, I’d definitely spend more time at the Mill. You should go. It’s good.

Now it’s your turn – What are your favourite (non-pub) places in Manchester?

* I actually woke up at 6am and couldn’t go back to sleep because I was so excited about the idea of writing this up as a blog post. And while getting out of  bed to write is certainly laudable, not sleeping off the drinks has started to take its toll on me over the course of this blog post being written and I only just about managed to finish it without curling up on the sofa. I guess that’s what they call “writer’s dilemma”.

[Images cc-licensed by no22aScraggyDog, marcus_and_sue, and Pimlico Badger because I lost 30GB worth of photos in a Time Machine backup accident.]

Drink! It’s for charity!*

The Black Lion pub in Salford has been around for over 130 years, and according to their website every famous person in the history of fame has already enjoyed a tipple there. Unfortunately the pub was broken into last night – here’s the email I just received:

Last night the Black Lion was broken into, 3 youths smashed through a triple bolted front door and then smashed up a few shelves before making off with over £1000 worth of spirits and a small safe under the bar.

They did this and then stole the Help for Heroes Official charity pots we have on the bar, which had a hundred odd quid in it from our generous customers – as a small social enterprise this is gutting for us, and watching it on CCTV made us all sick (esp when they ripped the H4H pots from the bar).

Our insurance company said they would not pay out as its not worth it, our excess is over £1000 and our premium would go up, already this month we have had to battle Salford city council on business rates and enterprise, the owners of the building, have put beer up! – this is hard for us… we need your support.

If you are out drinking tonight or this weekend, please pop into the The Black Lion and help boost the morale of the staff and help us build the business back up, we live week to week! To loose £1000 like that could cost jobs :(- what hurts the most is the charity pots and the recklessness of these youths, one year after the riots, please share and support your local pub in an hour of need:

Black Lion, Chapel Street, Salford, M35BZ
– please share this and RT where possible –

So, you know what to do, right? Drink! It’s for charity!

* Working title of this post: Drinker, drink faster!

[Picture by Robert Wade]

How I went from Manchester to Sicily and back – via Bury

Got me one of them fancy retro picture apps on my phone now, all retro stylee here!


One rainy Saturday morning we were working our way through our adventure time stack of leaflets, flyers and maps which we have accumulated over the past year or so, looking for something to do on this rather miserable day. For a fraction of a second, the thick blanket of clouds opened up just about enough to let through a single ray of sun light, lighting up the leaflet I was holding in my hand. That very same moment, the church bells next door started to ring their most beautiful song, and an elating, almost euphoric sensation pulsated through my body. When I looked down at the leaflet, which was still lit up by that single ray of light, I knew we had found our destination for the day: Bury Market.*

And it was… well, big. Very big. A paradise for anyone who really, really needs several pairs of slippers. And meat. Lots of meat. In the food bit, there were fewer fancy food stalls with cake (CAKE.), chocolates, deli stuff, the usual, than I had hoped for, and the few fruit and veg stalls weren’t too convincing. Which, of course, did not stop me from buying my way across the various food stalls at the market. But then, just as I was wandering through a remote corner of the market, trying to find something lunch-able, I had the second epiphany of the day. All of a sudden, I could hear a quiet, friendly voice behind me: “Please… eat this. If you eat here, you will be very, very lucky today!”

“Well, I suppose if the food already starts talking to me, it has to be a lucky day” I thought and turned around. Three faces smiled at me, framed by an array of food and little signs. “We only just opened today, you should really eat something we made… it will be your lucky day!” one of the faces said to me. I quickly scanned the food on offer, just to spot something familiar looking: A small, bread crumb covered ball – an “arancina”, a deep fried risotto ball, which I had just discovered on a trip to Rome the week before. As I am unable to say no when offered food, particularly not by friendly faces, I accepted the offer for food and quickly engaged in a little chat while waiting for the “arancina” to finish its bath in the deep fat fryer. Turned out the stall owners of “La Putia” were incredibly friendly Sicilians with a love and a lot of enthusiasm for food, who were more than happy to talk about Sicilian specialities, Italian food in general, ice cream and tiramisu in particular, and which Italian restaurant in Manchester was the best (apparently none is proper Italian despite the Italian chefs and owners, but San Carlo comes close). I walked away with a delicious little crunchy-creamy risotto and spinach ball and a phone number for home made tiramisu, which happily joined the blocks of cheese, whimberry pie and fancy cordial in my bag. A lucky day indeed!

* In case you’re wondering: the tram to Bury was on time, the tram back into Manchester was massively delayed. That’s 50% of my Metrolink journeys this month delayed, good work TfGM! Oh and, by the way, the new black bus stop signs are ridiculously difficult to spot. Who thought “hey, we’ll design some bus stop signs that blend in smoothly with the urban environment” was a good idea?

Asleep on a Sunbeam: Manchest-arrr is boiling.

Woah. I mean, seriously, like, totally, woah. Manchester, what the hell is that super bright white and yellow ball in the sky that makes everything go really hot?

The end of the world must be near, because the unspeakable has happened: For the second time this year already, Manchester has seen a spell of sunny weather. And by that I mean not just the usual sunny and grey and humid half-arsed Mancunian “meh” attempt at summer, but scorching hot sun, upper 20ish temperatures, bright blue skies, and not a single cloud, in best continental end-of-May-beginning-of-outdoor-swimming-season tradition. It’s taken four years in this city for me to witness this kind of weather, and my mind is genuinely blown.


In search of some cooling on this particularly hot weekend, we went on a little excursion down to Chorlton Water Park. I wasn’t expecting to find any particularly nice spots (location is everything for me!), but after we had cycled round the lake a couple of times, we did indeed find a nice shady bit of grass, right next to the water on the southern side of the lake. I never thought I would say this, but for the first time in years, I didn’t actually miss the continental European summer – sun, water, ducks and trees made me feel like I had just stepped out my parent’s front door*. After a failed attempt to complete the Big Issue sudoku, I decided to not bother doing anything and promptly fell asleep in the grass, while my companion was taking fancy macro pictures of fireflies.

An hour and a mildly sunburned shoulder later, I awoke from my comatose sleep. We could no longer resist the call of the one sunny day staple we had yet to devour: Ice cream. Thanks to impressive Twitter research skills, my companion had already found out that Ginger’s Comfort Emporium had parked up on Beech Road that day – only a short bike ride away from us. I had sadly missed out on Ginger’s tasty treats at the Ancoat’s Ice Cream Festival mess last year due to massive queues, but we were much luckier this time and found the van calmly waiting for our arrival. What happened next is all a little blurry, but it involves rhubarb crumble ice cream, rum, lime & ginger ice cream, extreme deliciousness, and an owl, and culminated in me spending my last £3 on quintuple chocolate caramel banoffee brownies. Or so.

What a day.

* Well, and walked around 30 minutes up that bloody hill to get to a lake, but let’s just stick with the short version for the purpose of nostalgia, yes?

“Up a bit, then left!”: Day 0 and 1 at FutureEverything 2012

I moved to Manchester around the same time FutureEverything was on 4 years ago, when it was still called FutureSonic – and I never managed to figure out what exactly the festival was about (let alone pay for a ticket…), until last year where one of the academics at our department was invited to a panel discussion and I realised that it was probably something I’d be interested in. Luckily, this year they’ve had a few places for poor but proactive people like me, and I was fortunate (or poor and proactive enough) to get one of those places.

The festival officially launched on Wednesday evening, with a few drinks and some short welcome talks from FutureEverything organisers, our city council leader Sir Richard Leese (who, according to my neighbour, gave exactly the same talk as last year), the head of the Arts Council, and Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic politician, activist and geek, who will also be giving a keynote talk on day 2 of the conference.

I had to miss the morning talks on day 1 and arrived just in time for a presentation by the BBC on their digital coverage of the London 2012 Olympics. While I had not been particularly interested in the Olympics (except for the opening ceremonies – I just love the excessiveness of Olympic opening ceremonies!), knowing that there was some technology and possibly even data (loads of semantic web technology, metadata and even tagged videos) to play around with, especially during the Young Rewired State week which happens to be around the same time as the Olympics, sounded very tempting. The only downer came after the talk when I was told that the data were indeed accessible and could be used, hacked, and mashed by anyone, however, publishing the results of such a hack  might not be possible due to copyrights held on the data. I’m hoping to get some more information about the situation from the beebs.

The post-lunch sessions I attended where themed around personal data, identity, and security, which was both interesting and worrying. I am fully aware that my data is constantly being used, tracked, and analysed (after years of refusal I caved and got a Nectar card, which allows me to access my stats online and see when I shopped for how much at which Sainsbury’s… so if they haven’t yet found out that I’m a 20-something female with erratic eating habits who bakes a lot, they will know now), and avoid using social media in a personal capacity. You won’t find drunky pictures of me on Facebook, I’m afraid. Imagining, however, how insurance companies use personal data on, for example, shopping habits to estimate your life expectancy (Wall Street Journal article here) makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Next on for a short talk was Jeremy Newman, who introduced a strategy for preventing identity fraud: By building up a network of trust, where the identity of a person is confirmed by the people who know them and “vouch” for them by identifying their picture. Well. Nice idea, but it seems to have way too many holes (what stops me from using someone else’s name and picture to assume their identity? How can blind people vouch for others if they can’t see the pictures? Do I really want to go through the process of having other people verify my identify whenever I change my appearance?) that might need addressing first.

The last session I attended was part of the ongoing “Reuse and Replicate” talks and workshops, with some great insight into the MDDA’s wireless sensor network project that will monitor environmental factors along the Oxford Road Corridor. Back home, I tuned into I’d Hide You, a live online / real life game in which people with cameras mounted on helmets run around the Northern Quarter trying to “snap” each other with cameras, while the spectators can give them directions via a live-chat. I was pretty impressed by the quality of the game (real-time live video streaming of people moving, reading out the messages we sent them), and the players were all fun (“I might just go for a little drink here…”), but it felt like there was something missing – an actual goal. I’d love to see the concept used for a treasure hunt or a capture the flag type game, but simply running around the block and artificially creating clashes seemed a little pointless after a bit. Oh, and they should totally add point & click features – like “Player 1, read… poster! Take… book. Use… book…with…sausage.”, that kind of stuff. Having said that, they will be playing all weekend, so I’m quite looking forward to a live video-stream of the Northern Quarter on Friday and Saturday night.

I’ll report back with more FutureEverything funsies soon.

Animals Are Cut In Two: My favourite vegetarian places in Manchester

Om nom nom. I do like a bit of good food every once in a while.* As a vegetarian hailing from the land of sausage, where no part of an animal is considered too inferior to be turned into something supposedly edible, I was shocked to find a wealth of meat-free offers on British menus. After years of eating side salads (and not even those sometimes, as the potato salad is traditionally made with beef stock in the Southern regions of my homeland), I was introduced into the delicious world of Asian food, pies (PIES!!), ubiquitous falafel, and generally delicious animal-free pub grub. It’s about time for a round-up of my favourite (and not-so favourite) vegetarian and veggie-friendly places in the rainy city. Without further ado:

The Greenhouse, Great Western Street, Rusholme

Ah, good old Greenhouse. Definitely not a place for a romantic dinner, but always fun with a big group. The menu is roughly the size of two phonebooks and ranges from vegetarian haggis (nice!) and old-fashioned classics such as nut roast and stuffed vegetables, to international dishes like curries and stir fries, with occasional excursions into the slightly freaky – deep-fried avocado or peach and stilton dip anyone? From the outside the Greenhouse looks a little bit like a voodoo cottage, while the interior seems to have been put together with finds from yard sales all over the world. If I was to describe the Greenhouse in one word, I’d say “interesting” – worth a try though!

Greens, Lapwing Lane, West Didsbury

Saying that Greens used to be nicer before they doubled in size makes me realize how long I’ve been in Manchester (4 years today!). It used to be a cosy little place with nice and sometimes a little bit fancy food and expensive wines (people tell me that back in the old days it used to be BYO, but I’ve not been here *that* long yet), the place to go to celebrate small achievements, birthdays, and for general treats. Unfortunately, it has now turned into a place that tends to get incredibly noisy, even midweek, with rushed service, and actually bad tables (the one near the kitchen / bar is just… awful.). This is a real shame, since the food is still great (even though it’s a little cheese heavy for my taste), with one of my favourite dishes ev-ah being veggie bangers and mash with a chutney-like gravy, which have been residing on the menu since my first visit.

Fuel, Wilmslow Road, Withington

Oh yes, I love Fuel. Like, super mega love it. Conveniently, it’s also my local. The food is exclusively vegetarian with some vegan options, covers everything from a proper fry-up, a giant cheesy spinachy breakfast omelette which is incredibly tasty and unhealthy in equal amounts, burgers, the best potato & sweet potato wedges combo, delicious homemade hummus, as well as stews and daily specials. The prices are okay (the most expensive item on the menu is around £7 or £8), they’ve got a huge selection of fancy beers, the Tuesday quiz is fun, and there’s always free gigs on.

Earth Cafe, Turner Street, Northern Quarter

Well. Earth Cafe in the basement of the buddhist centre is… okay. I kind of understand why you pay extra for sides like veggies and gravy (fair for those who don’t want it), but at the same time, this makes the meals rather expensive. The food is quite nice, home cooked stews, dhals, bean burgers, lots of rice, and mostly vegan, but it’s also a little bit… boring. There, I said it. I’m also not a massive fan of basements, and the atmosphere at Earth Cafe is not exactly cosy.

8th Day, Oxford Road

8th Day is not too different from Earth Cafe (cafeteria style, queue for food with a tray, basement), but somehow they managed to make the place slightly more appealing and comfortable. The food is nice and filling, with a daily selection of soups, stews and a couple of specials (hmm veggie lasagne!), and reasonably priced – and hey, they even do student discount. While they have a rather generous selection of cakes in the cafe downstairs, the highlight of every visit is a chocolate cherry slice from the shop upstairs: dark chocolate, gooey sticky cherry jam, and an incredibly sweet crumbly flapjack-like base guarantees a sugar rush and happy faces for the next two hours.

1847 Vegetarian Bistro, off Mosley Street, City Centre

The new kid on the veggie block. I went when it was still “DetoxRetox”, which was quickly changed into a slightly less juice bar-y name. The restaurant looks very, very nice both from the outside and the inside, and the staff are super friendly. Things might have changed since I’ve last been, but the food was a bit hit and miss. My starter of blue cheese stuffed mushrooms was, well, exactly that: 4 hardly grilled mushrooms, stuffed with a bit of blue cheese, neatly arranged in a square. My cheese binge continued with a cheesy souffle, with was in fact delicious, and went really well with the piece of fake fish & chips (battered and fried haloumi aka heart attack on a place) I stole from my dining companion. The pudding, again, was a nice idea (sticky toffee pudding with, I believe, lavender custard… or was it rosemary?), but ended up being a bit of a gloopy disappointment. Having said that – 1847 has so far been the cosiest and prettiest veggie place I have been to in Manchester, so I’m more than looking forward to coming back and giving it another chance.

I suppose that’s enough food for now. I’ve not covered all the places I usually frequent, so check back for the 2nd part of SAM EATS MANCHESTARRR.

* Constantly.

[Pictures by Ian Koh, Rain Rabbit, Binary Ape]

Slow, Slowly, Sloes*: Sloe picking in Chorlton

First things first: You want sloes? Go and get sloes! Check out my carefully drawn map of Chorlton Water Park (jelly-bean-shaped area marks the spot) and go sloe picking while they’re still there.

We’ve been wondering for a while where to find sloes from in and around Manchester. Due to lack of a vehicle, the tip-off about the sloe bushes at junction 19 of the M60 wasn’t exactly helpful. We were just about to head down to Stockport and wander around the parks there, looking for prickly bushes, as the mighty @robotswanking received a Twitter message from sloe expert Cormac. Plans were changed quickly and mission: sloes headed south-west instead, to Chorlton Water Park.

Just by accident (we did actually get lost on the way to the orchard, taking a right turn after the bridge rather than just heading straight on) we wandered down a small path in a field that seemed completely overlooked by the many visitors. And there it was: a sloe bush. Not very big, not many fruit, but it was what we were looking for. As we had picked what would have been enough for at least a glass full of sloe gin, we moved on further down the path – and discovered what can only be described as (drum roll) sloe valley (ta-dah!). Dozens of sloe bushes, easily accessible by the side of the path, just waiting to be picked. As we got closer to the gate that was leading back to the main path, the sloes got bigger and bigger, until we finally found one bush that kept us busy for almost an hour.

We returned home with scratched hands, muddy boots, black dirt under our nails and a small blue Ikea bag filled to the brim with big round sloes. Several hours of pricking and several bottles of booze later, we had these beauties in our kitchen:

So – if you fancy picking some sloes around South Manchester, Chorlton Water Park is the place to go! Don’t worry, there’s enough for everyone. Just make sure you’re careful and don’t trample down everything, yes?

* And I do apologize to Liam Frost for the sloe-pun in the title.

Something About Airplanes: A day out at the airport

Back in June, when the weather was all nice and sunny… haha, just kidding, of course it wasn’t. Anyway. Back in June, I spent a day out at the airport. As you do.

There are many British stereotypes lingering in the minds of Germans, ready to surface and be proved true whenever you do something that could be considered slightly odd. A penchant for weird hobbies is one of those stereotypes, and, no offense, but you Brits do like to confirm them on a regular basis. Rolling cheese down a hill and chasing after it in a potentially fatal race? Check. Playing a game that lasts over several days, incorporates lunch and tea, with inexplicable rules, where half of the team on the pitch don’t actually seem to participate? Check. Check. Check. Check. A drinking game that has actual rules and standard-sized equipment you can purchase from the shop? (Okay I know, beer pong is an American invention, but popular enough here in the UK). Check. And finally, spending hours in a crowded car park watching planes take off and landing, while you’re equipped with a radio, expensive binoculars and even more expensive cameras? Ch-omg-eck.

Back in the olden days, plane spotting made some kind of sense: those flying things were miracles of modern engineering, flights were hardly affordable, tons of metal defying gravity was something unusual and unbelievably exciting. And while the latter certainly is still the case, I cannot imagine how anyone could get a thrill out of watching planes driving around the runway and noting the different types of planes while taking photos.

The Airport Hotel is a pub popular with plane spotters, as it is conveniently located right next to the runway, with its spacious beer garden only separated from the huge machines by a wire fence. As we went there on a Sunday afternoon it was completely packed out with spotters and families alike. The beer garden had a rather bizarre fun fair meets playground meets military training feel to it, as children were playing on the bouncy castle and the swings, waving the toy machine guns their loving parents had bought them at the nearby stall, while plane spotters with giant binoculars and radios were gathering at the fence. Probably the only place in the world where parents are happy to let their children run around in close proximity to men with binoculars.

Unfortunately the food ordering process (order on the kitchen door, then wait for the cook to come out and shout your number) was a little confusing and the food leaving the kitchen didn’t look particularly appealing (ok, it looked awful), so we only had a quick drink while watching the plane spotters. Every takeoff was preluded by the approaching of the plane, then turning to have the turbines point right at the beer garden while causing storm-like hot wind – this, and the deafening noises, made me wonder why on earth anyone would want to spend more than a few minutes in that place, let alone a family day out. I have yet to understand the appeal of planes.

I heart MCR, Part 2.

Someone’s stolen our bikes. Last night (Saturday, 17th September) from our house in Withington, South Manchester (so they might still be in the area). If you see one of the bikes, please give me a shout (sam@mightaswell.co.uk), report them to the police (crime stoppers on 0800 555 111), steal it back or take a picture of whoever has it. They’re not worth much, but I’m generally not very fond of having my stuff nicked by scumbags, so it would be nice to have them back. Or cause someone pain. Or both.

Mine is a light blue Raleigh ladies road bike with a D-lock, an Edinburgh Bicycle co-op pump, and a big bell that says ‘Ring Me’.

Matt’s is an Edinburgh Bicycle Co-Op ‘Revolution Streetfinder’ bike in dark grey, like the one below.

I’m not surprised. Or disappointed. Just angry. Very, very angry.

What I find slightly more unsettling is the thought that someone must have been into our house/stairwell in the middle of the night to take the bikes, which were wedged in under the stairs and took me 10 minutes to get out last time. If people just used the copious amounts of criminal energy they seem to have for something productive, this country would be flourishing.

Update: Our landlord just told us that the door was actually broken into, at 3 in the afternoon. What a warm welcome, 2 weeks after moving in. I love Manchester.